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leadership Jan 22, 2021

Stop me if you’ve heard this one:
A Roman emperor, a transcendentalist writer, and The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll walk into a bar.

“A man’s worth is no greater than his ambitions.” —Marcus Aurelius

(Having the benefit of 1,800+ years of history, I’ll go ahead and update your quote for you, Marco: “A person’s worth is no greater than their ambitions.”)

“Without ambition one starts nothing.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Ambition is a dream with a V8 engine.” —Elvis Presley


Ambition is an essential attribute of high performers, but how much is too much?

Trying to motivate someone with little ambition feels like pushing a wet noodle.

Yet we’ve each worked with someone who desperately wishes to rise above their station—often to the detriment of their current duties!

All things being equal, would you prefer to work with people who are extremely ambitious, very ambitious, moderately ambitious, or no preference whatsoever?

Let me know which and why in the comments below.